Mary Sibley Goes on the Offensive in ‘Salem’ Episode 4 ‘Book of Shadows’


Mary Sibley acts to flush out her enemies and convert another potential foe into an ally.  That, and she gets lucky!

You don’t climb to the top of the mountain without knocking your enemies down along the way, now do you , Mary Sibley?

Sure, Mary be bending the town of Salem, Massachusetts to her will, while destroying it from the inside thanks to the witch pox she has released, but how long can she maintain her reign of terror?  Enemies are moving in on her from all sides, and she was nearly drowned in her own bath tub in the previous episode?

Don’t worry: Mary Sibley isn’t down, and she sure as hell is not out, as episode four, “Book of Shadows,” proves.


“Book of Shadows” opens with Mary Sibley shaken by the attack/warning that Countess Marburg inflicted upon her at the end of episode three.  Of course, Mary doesn’t know that it’s the Countess behind the incident, so she sends Tituba to Petrus to see if he has seen anything.  Meanwhile, Mary coerces Anne Hale into beginning her training as a witch.

Cotton Mather befriends Samuel Wainwright in hopes of ending the witch pox that is laying waste to Salem.  When Mary visits, we get to see her softer side, which makes us wonder, “What if?”:

It would appear that John Alden still harbors some feelings for Mary, as he is presented with the chance to kill her as she is searching for the witch hunter she has tracked to Knocker’s Hole.  He holds off – let’s hope that decision doesn’t come back to haunt him – but is able to remain entirely undetected thanks to the tools given to him by the Native America shaman who vowed to help protect him from the witches.

Later, Mary forces Anne to cast a spell, in order to flush out whoever violated her in the tub last episode.  She discovers that it is the Countess . . . but before she can act on that information, she is visited by Wainwright – late night booty call!

The episode ends with John Alden revealing that he is still alive to Cotton Mather . . . although the reunion is not exactly a friendly one.

My Heathen Thoughts

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Just when I thought Mary Sibley might be in over her head, she takes the offensive and puts the heat on John Alden.  Of course, she doesn’t know that he is the one hunting the witches of Salem – I do think that revelation will stun her, once it occurs – but I like her resolve.  As a bonus, she gets the chance to completely cut Magistrate Hathorne down to size, and boy, does she take advantage of that.  Mary, you are one sexy, yet deadly, woman . . .

. . . but even with her decision to go on the offensive, it seems as if the odds are stacked against her.  She still has yet to deal with Countess Marburg, who appears to be every bit as powerful as Mary, but who has years more experience on her side.  Mercy Lewis is insane, making her an unpredictable threat, especially since Mary believes her to be dead.   And Anne Hale is simply biding her time, using Mary to learn how to control her powers until the time is right to use them for the common good.

Could it be the biggest threat to Mary is Tituba, though?  When Tituba removed Petrus’ eyes and ate them, was she trying to protect Mary . . . or keep her in the dark, in order to give the witch hunter an advantage?  Tituba insists that all she has ever done is to try and keep Mary safe, but she blatantly lied to Mary about the eyes in this episode.  Hmmmm.

Finally: I love the total bad-ass that John Alden has become.  I don’t know how many season Salem will run, and I sure as hell hope he survives through this season – but I think it’s clear that if he’s going to down, it’s going to be in a blaze of glory, with John taking as many witches to hell with him as he can.  He’s definitely become an anti-hero – what he ultimately ends up doing with Cotton will determine how close John approaches villain territory – but then again, he’s at war.  

Take no prisoners!

‘Salem’ airs Sunday nights at 10/9 on WGN America.

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